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Dozens of budget cut protests scheduled for tomorrow

With all that’s going on in Albany, it has been easy to ignore that the state budget proposed to start on April 1 could bring devastating education budget cuts.

Aiming to put the fiscal situation back on the front-burner, education advocates across the state will hold a series of rallies tomorrow against Governor Paterson’s proposed $1.1 billion in school budget cuts. Nine of the 18 rallies will take place in the city’s five boroughs. A full schedule is at the end of this post.

A flagship event taking place at Murry Bergtraum High School in downtown Manhattan will feature teachers union president Michael Mulgrew, principals union president Ernest Logan, and Geri Palast, executive director of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, which spearheaded an ultimately victorious lawsuit for more funding for the city’s schools.

Paterson’s proposed cuts, which would be the deepest in decades for the state, call for a roughly 5 percent cut to per-student aid to each school district — or somewhere in the neighborhood of half a billion dollars for New York City. And the cuts could be even deeper, because Paterson’s budget proposal included $750 million in Race to the Top funds, which the state is unlikely to receive when the first round of winners are announced tomorrow. The state must finalize its budget this month.

Here’s the press release and schedule we received from the Alliance for Quality Education, one of the organizations sponsoring the day of rallies:

Parents and Educators To Hold 18 Events Across The State Rejecting The Governor’s $1.4b In Education Cuts

What: Parents, students, educators and community members will hold 18 press conferences, town hall meetings and protests across New York State on Thursday, March 4, to oppose Governor Paterson’s proposed $1.4 billion cut to state education funding. In New York City, nine events will be held throughout the day to oppose the governor’s proposal to cut $466 million in state school aid. Events will take place in all five boroughs.

Who: Alliance For Quality Education, Campaign For Fiscal Equity, NYC Coalition For Educational Justice, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, Education Voters Of NY, Make The Road NY, NY Communities for Change, United Federation Of Teachers and more.

When: All events will take place on Thursday, March 4. See exact details below.

Visuals: Parents, teachers, elected officials.

Where: Various events across the city (listed below)

Murry Bergtraum High School Press Conference, 411 Pearl Street; 12:30 p.m.

Speakers at Murry Bergtraum High School Press Conference:
Zakiyah Ansari, Alliance for Quality Education/ NYC Coalition for Educational Justice
Michael Mulgrew, United Federation of Teachers, President
Geri Palast, Campaign For Fiscal Equity, Executive Director
John Elfrank-Dana, Murry Bergtraum High School, Chapter Leader
Ernest Logan, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, President
Glynda Carr, Education Voters of NY, Executive Director
Additional events occurring in all five boroughs are listed below:

MS 54 Booker T. Washington School Press Conference, 103 West 107th Street, 3 p.m.

PS 11 Town Hall Meeting, 1257 Ogden Avenue, 5:30-8 p.m.

IS 318 Eugenio Maria De Hostos Press Conference 101 Walton Street, 3 p.m.
PS 13 Roberto Clemente Press Conference, 557 Pennsylvania Avenue, 12 p.m.
IS 171 Abraham Lincoln Town Hall Meeting, 528 Ridgewood Avenue, 6-8 p.m.

IS 125 Thomas J McCann Press Conference, 46-02 47th Avenue, Woodside, 3 p.m.
Make the Road Press Conference, 92-10 Roosevelt Avenue, Elmhurst, 11 a.m.

PS 45R Press Conference, 58 Lawrence Avenue, 2:30 p.m.

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